Neurology - All About Concussions

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth. Even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.

What are signs/symptoms of a concussion?

The following are just some of the signs/symptoms that may occur with a concussion:
•    Appears dazed or stunned
•    Is confused about assignment or position
•    Forgets an instruction
•    Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
•    Moves clumsily
•    Answers questions slowly
•    Loses consciousness (even briefly)
•    Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
•    Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
•    Can’t recall events after hit or fall
•    Headache or “pressure” in head
•    Nausea or vomiting
•    Balance problems or dizziness
•    Double or blurry vision
•    Sensitivity to light
•    Sensitivity to noise
•    Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
•    Concentration or memory problems
•    Confusion
•    Does not “feel right” or is “feeling down”

What is the proper treatment?

Remove the athlete from play. Keep the athlete out of play the day of the injury and ensure that the athlete is evaluated by a health care professional experienced in evaluating concussions.  A progressive rehabilitation program should be followed, supervised by the health care professional, to determine when return to play is appropriate.

Massachusetts State Law – Certification Requirements

The state of Massachusetts has passed new regulations addressing Head Injuries and Concussions in Extracurricular Athletic Activities (105 CMR 201.000). The requirements apply to all public middle and high schools (6-12) subject to the official rules of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. Annual completion of DPH-approved training is require for all coaches, athletic directors, certified athletic trainers, volunteers, school physicians and school nurses, game officials, marching band directors, parents of athletes and students participating in extracurricular athletics.

Led by a team of Athletic Trainers, Hallmark Health’s Rehabilitation Department is available to your school or group for training sessions on the mechanism of injury, signs, symptoms, management and return to play guideline for athletes with head injuries and concussions. To request a presentation or to find out more information about Hallmark Health’s Concussion Program, please call 781-395-7750.

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